Tribunal action falls
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Tribunal action falls

One of the main functions of a human resources professional, and in turn one of the main benefits for an employer of advertising and making available HR jobs in Southampton is the management of conflicts.

Whilst a Human Resources manager might be able to take a potentially volatile situation and diffuse it to the benefit of all concerned parties, without their intervention the situation might look markedly different.

Tribunal action is one such outcome of a poorly handled situation or one where no peaceful resolution can be reached.

However, recent research has shown that since the introduction of changes to legal funding, the number of cases making it to tribunal has also fallen.

Ministry of Justice

The figures, which were prepared and released by the Ministry of Justice show that for the final quarter of 2013, there was a reduction of 17% in the number of cases submitted to employment tribunals.

The figures are comparable with the same period in 2012, and also show that the number of cases claiming unfair dismissal has also fallen sharply, some 42% on the final quarter of 2012.

What is startling about these figures are that they are the first published since the introduction of fees for Employment Tribunal in July 2013.

The changes

As was widely publicised at the time, the changes to the fee structure were introduced as part of a move to avoid and discourage nuisance and spurious claims.

The new fee structure sees simple claims, which could include unlawful deductions from wage costing the person bringing about the action a one off fee of £160 for issue and a further £230 for the case to be heard, whilst a more complex case such as unfair dismissal or discrimination would cost £250 for issue and £950 for the hearing.

At the time of introduction, there was criticism that the fees would see many of the people with genuine grievances and problem situations being deterred from seeking help for the situation they were in. However, employment law firm Linklaters has warned people against reading too much into the figures, saying that many people submitted their claims earlier than they might have otherwise done to avoid having to pay the fees. The company expect that the numbers will become more balanced in the coming quarters.

Partner Nicola Rabson commented “Contrary to what the published statistics show, as employees are now required to make a payment on submitting a claim, employers may be more reluctant to settle threatened litigation, preferring to wait and see if the claimant is willing to commit to pursuing it, which may ultimately increase the number of claims that initially reach the tribunal”.